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Overview

Brief Summary

Yarrow broomrape grows on dry, moderately nutrient-rich sandy clayish compact soil, such as dunes along paths or where animals graze, floodplains, river dunes and along train tracks. Just like all broomrapes, it is a parasite and lives off of wormwood and yarrow species. It doesn’t produce chlorophyll so the plant is has no green parts. The flowers are blue-purple with a yellowish foot, while the stems and whatever leaves it may have are grayish blue. Yarrow broomrape is a very rare plant in the Netherlands, found mostly in the Holland dunes between Bergen and Goeree. Furthermore, the plant grows throughout Western Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea region.
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Comprehensive Description

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This unusual wildflower has a reputation of appearing unexpectedly in one area, only to disappear and reappear in another area of the same habitat. Most likely, this intermittent pattern results from the underground stems producing flowering stalks during some years, but not others. Unlike some other species in this genus, One-Flowered Broomrape produces only a single flower per stalk, rather than a spike-like stalk with multiple flowers. Only one other species in Illinois, Orobanche fasciculata (Clustered Broomrape), shares this characteristic. Clustered Broomrape has a longer scaly stem (2-4") that is also underground, from which 4-12 flowering stalks develop above ground. There is a tendency for the lobes of its flowers to be less spreading or more divided into 2 lips; One-Flowered Broomrape has flowers with spreading lobes and poorly defined upper and lower lips. The common name of this genus, 'Broomrape,' derives from an Orobanche sp. in Europe that is parasitic on Broom (Cytisus sp.) as a host plant. Other common names of Orobanche uniflora are 'Naked Broomrape' and 'Ghost Pipes.' Return
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native wildflower is a perennial, producing 1-5 erect flowering stalks about 3-8" tall. The flowering stalks are produced by a scaly short stem that is 1" or less in length; this stem is usually underground and only the flowering stalks are visible above ground. The short scales along the stem are highly modified leaves; they are oval to ovate in shape and somewhat thick and succulent. The flowering stalks are usually pale gray or grayish tan, terete, and hairy. At the apex, each stalk produces a single nodding flower about ¾–1" long. This flower has a tubular corolla with 5 spreading lobes and a short hairy calyx with 5 lanceolate teeth; the teeth usually have slender tips. The coloration of the calyx is usually similar to the flowering stalk. The corolla is white to lilac or a blending of these two colors (rarely is it purple, at least in the Midwest); it is covered with short fine hairs. Along the lower throat of the corolla, there is usually a patch of bright yellow hairs, although sometimes these hairs are cream-colored or white. Inserted within the corolla, there is an ovary with a single style and 4 stamens. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 2-4 weeks. In the absence of cross-pollination by insects, the flowers are self-fertile. Each flower is replaced by an ovoid seed capsule, that splits open to release minute seeds. These seeds are small enough to be blown about by the wind and they eventually sink into the crevices of the soil and ground litter. The root system is parasitic, developing feeder roots (haustoria) that attach themselves to the roots of a suitable host plant. One-Flowered Broomrape is holoparasitic and lacks chlorophyll; it is dependent on the host plant for nutrients.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

One-Flowered Broomrape is occasional in Illinois, except in the SE section, where it is rare or absent. This is the most common Orobanche sp. (Broomrape) in the state. Habitats include upland woodlands, rocky cliffs where some seepage occurs, the base of bluffs, rocky glades, and thickets. This species is usually found in high quality natural areas.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

One-Flowered Broomrape is occasional in Illinois, except in the SE section, where it is rare or absent. This is the most common Orobanche sp. (Broomrape) in the state. Habitats include upland woodlands, rocky cliffs where some seepage occurs, the base of bluffs, rocky glades, and thickets. This species is usually found in high quality natural areas.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees and possibly other long-tongued bees. Charles Robertson (1929) observed the bumblebee, Bombus pensylvanica, visiting the flowers for nectar. Aside from this observation, very little appears to be known about floral-faunal relationships for this species.
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Flower-Visiting Insects of One-Flowered Broomrape in Illinois

Orobanche uniflora (One-Flowered Broomrape)
(Bumblebees suck nectar; this observation is from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus pensylvanica

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Foodplant / parasite
underground tuber of Orobanche purpurea parasitises root of Achillea millefolium
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
underground tuber of Orobanche purpurea parasitises root of Asteraceae
Remarks: Other: uncertain
Other: minor host/prey

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Orobanche uniflora

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Orobanche uniflora

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Orobanche purpurea

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Orobanche purpurea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

This wildflower is often found in moist rocky areas where there is some protection from the wind. However, it is also found in non-rocky soil. The presence of a suitable host plant is required before the seeds will germinate. The seeds germinate in response to the presence of chemicals in the soil that the developing host plant produces. In addition, a suitable fungus may be necessary to function as an intermediary between the seedling and host plant. Suitable host plants include Sedum spp. (Sedums), upland Saxifraga spp. (Saxifrage), Helianthus spp. (Sunflowers), Solidago spp. (Goldenrods), and probably other plant species. Transplanted specimens of One-Flowered Broomrape are unlikely to survive for very long.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Wikipedia

Orobanche uniflora

Orobanche uniflora, commonly known as one-flowered broomrape,[1] cancer root,[2] ghost pipe[3] or naked broomrape, is an annual parasitic herb. It is native to much of North America, where it is a parasitic plant, tapping nutrients from many other species of plants, including those in the Asteraceae and Saxifragaceae families and in the genus Sedum.

It grows to a height of five centimeters, and has short (up to 3 centimeter) scaly leaves. The flowers grow singly on 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) stalks and may be up to 3.5 centimetres (1.4 in) long. The corolla is violet to yellow-brown, two-lipped, finely fringed with five similar lobes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Profile for Orobanche uniflora (oneflowered broomrape)". USDA. Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  2. ^ One-flowered Cancer Root (Orobanche uniflora)
  3. ^ Newcomb, Lawrence: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. Little Brown. Boston. 1977, ISBN 978-0316604420.
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